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25 to Watch.

From our far-flung correspondents, here they are: the dancers, choreographers, troupes and trends we'll be watching in 2001 and for years to come

1 Xiao Nan Yu: Passion and Perfection


When Rex Harrington, danseur noble of the National Ballet of Canada, laid his flowers at the feet of his partner and stepped back to join in the rapturous applause, it confirmed what the delirious audience already knew--that a star had been born. It was February 2000, and second soloist Xiao Nan Yu had just made her stunning debut as Tatiana in John Cranko's Onegin. At 23, Yu is ballet perfection. Her lyrical grace, elegant lines and physical beauty are underscored by a dramatic passion that takes the breath away.

Yu was born in Dalian, China, and studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy. In 1994, she represented China at the Prix de Lausanne, and although she did not win a prize, Yu's future greatness was recognized by juror Mavis Staines, artistic director of Canada's National Ballet School, who invited the young ballerina to Toronto for further training. Yu arrived at the NBS in 1995 and joined the National Ballet as an apprentice the following year. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 1997, second soloist in 1999, and was immediately elevated to first soloist after her Onegin debut. Clearly, Yu is a superstar in the making.

Paula Citron is a Canadian correspondent for Dance Magazine.

2 Calvin Kitten: Journey at the Joffrey from Wunderkind to Dancer's Dancer


In the past year, Calvin Kitten has evolved from being a wunderkind to an extraordinary, mature artist.

He began his dance training at the California Ballet School in San Diego, then spent a year (1989-90) as an exchange student at the Tbilisi Choreographic Institute in Soviet Georgia. After one season with The Joffrey II Dancers, he was invited by Artistic Director Gerald Arpino to join the main company in 1992.

A strong jumper with superb technique, Kitten has been described by Chicago Sun-Times dance critic Hedy Weiss as "so light, effortless and airborne in his every move that it sometimes seems as if he's suspended from an invisible wire."

His role as the Snow Prince in Robert Joffrey's production of The Nutcracker has become something of a signature piece. But his personal repertoire ranges from principal roles in Arpino's ballets to Kurt Jooss's Green Table, to Massine's Les Presages and The Revivalist in the Joffrey's premiere of Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring last October. Kitten was presented with Chicago's Ruth Page Award in 1997 for his performance of the Chinese Conjurer in the company's reconstruction of Massine's Parade; he received his second Ruth Page Award in 2000 for his performance of Prodigal Son. Maria Tallchief, who danced the Siren in New York City Ballet's 1950 revival, said Kitten's performance was the best Prodigal she had ever seen. Small wonder Kitten's becoming known as a dancer's dancer.

Herb Migdoll writes from his perspective as a veteran photographer for Dance Magazine and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

3 Shawn Bowen, Step Dancer on the Rise


Those who follow competitive Irish dance should keep an eye on Shawn Bowen, age 13. After studying at New York City's Niall O'Leary School for just one year, he sailed through his very first feis (pronounced "fesh," a local Irish step dancing competition) on Long Island last September and claimed third prize in Open Championship. At press time, Shawn was preparing for the Oireachtas (pronounced "oh-RACK-tus" a regional competition) in Philadelphia, aiming to dance in the Worlds next spring. Nevertheless, he enjoys performing more than competing and ultimately wants to tour with Riverdance. Indeed, Shawn already has an extensive performance background in a variety of styles. Raised in Howard Beach, New York, he has studied and performed tap, jazz and ballet since the age of 3 under the direction of his mother, Eileen Bowen. Shawn cites Michael Flatley as his inspiration for pursuing Irish dance and plans to further the trend of combining modem-dance arm movements with traditional Irish steps.

Darrah Carr, a New York City-based writer and choreographer, recently completed her MFA at New York University.

4 Michael Moschen's Magical Momentum


To say that Michael Moschen is a juggler is a bit like saying that Einstein had a head for numbers.

In addition to his abilities as an illusionist, a physicist and a humorist, Moschen is undeniably a mesmerizing dancer and choreographer who ingeniously uses props as his partners. When he manipulates crystal balls that undulate over his arms and neck like water droplets, he becomes inseparable from the objects he commands. And by bouncing rubber balls at light-beam speed inside a six-foot triangle, he forms a living sculpture with percussive rhythms.

A winner of a 1990 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, he has recently performed in dance venues like the Kitchen, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Joyce Theater, where he spent two weeks in November. More dates are coming up. Clearly the dance community recognizes Moschen as one of its own. Like any great dancer or choreographer, he renders the technique invisible and grasps the poetry of the movement. Audiences at his shows inevitably leave in awe of Moschen's masterly alchemy.

Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Joseph Carman is a New York City dance critic for Dance Magazine and a contributor to The New York Times and The Advocate.

5 3 point juncture's New Approaches


As federal funding shrinks beyond recognition and rehearsal spaces disappear daily in Manhattan, three New York choreographers--Yanira Castro, Tiffany Mills and Pam Tanowitz--are fighting back. Their collective, 3 point juncture, is a brilliant model of choreographic ingenuity, one that links them administratively, not creatively. "This is not about programming, it's about administration--sharing a staff and, one day, a dance studio," Castro explains. The quick success of the venture (the threesome was presented at Tribeca Performing Arts Center last spring and will share an Association of Performing Arts Presenters showcase at City Center January 8) proves that the collective is as intriguing to producers as it is to other struggling artists in the contemporary dance community. Chalk it up to their vastly different approaches: While Castro works with text and video, Mills's work is rooted in release technique, and Tanowitz, influenced by her studies with the late Viola Farber, is a classicist whose lush dances are based in rigorous experiments of form. This prototype may not be for everyone; however, 3 point juncture works for a simple reason. "We really like each other!" Tanowitz exclaims. "We'll have a two-hour meeting set aside to write a grant, and that's not a lot of time, but we'll end up schmoozing so long that it takes hours. So we made a role that we can only talk for a half an hour. But of course we never follow it."

Gia Kourlas, a New York City critic for Dance Magazine, is dance editor for Time Out New York.

6 Yokoshi and Heggen's Fine Madness


Dancer/choreographers Yasuko Yokoshi and Gonnie Heggen team up for Royal Madness, a wacky fantasy of what goes on in the courts of royalty. Yokoshi, a riveting performer, peeks into the imperial courts of Asia, while Heggen, a master improvisor from Holland, gives us a glimpse into the royal courts of Europe. The conflict between "noble emotions" and real human behavior gets played out in dance, improvised text and a moveable sound installation. After a showing of the piece in progress, Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times called the two women "inspired lunatics who work well together and who leave few of today's icons unassaulted." The finished piece will be performed at The Kitchen in New York February 21-24.

Wendy Perron is Dance Magazine's New York editor.

7 T.J. Espinoza, Cool Guy in a Hot Medium


If you've ever seen teen-pop diva Britney Spears perform, you've probably seen T.J. Espinoza do his stuff. In today's world of pop-tour, music-video dance, T.J.'s stuff is no secret. In a year, he went from being the one back-up dancer of Britney Spears that every teen girl was dying to get her hands on to getting a recording contract. His electrifying and "oh-so-cool" moves have captured the admiration of teens around the world. He has his own online Yahoo! fan club and thirty-seven--count 'em--Web sites promoting his many talents.

Now T.J.--who's 23 but looks 17--is launching a career as a solo recording artist. Six appearances on MTV's top-rated show, Sisqo's Shakedown, have led to a nomination for Fay New Artist by the Teen Scene Awards. Little wonder Teen Scene magazine already is touting T.J. as the "Next Pop Prince."

Dancer-choreographer Grover Dale's advice column, Answers 4 Dancers, appears in Dance Magazine and online at

8 Young Hoofers: The Future on Tap


Every Saturday afternoon Traci Mann calls rehearsals for her talented group, The Young Hoofers, to start tapping and ready up for their next gig. Inspired by Lon Chaney's The Original Hoofers, Mann has taught her young men, from grade school to high school, what she acquired directly from the hoofers' mouths. Troupe members hail from Brooklyn, New York, where they studied with Mann when she taught dance in the depressed Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

With the rhythms and techniques of Chaney, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, Carnell Lyons and Savion Glover in his feet, Lance Liles, 17, attends Nassau BOCES (Bureau of Cooperative Educational Services) High School on Long Island. Tap dancing was not accepted as an audition piece, but Liles convinced the panel to let him tap anyway. Calvin Booker, 15, a fellow Young Hoofer, studies at New York City's LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

The other Young Hoofers are Jamal Brown, 17, Sheldon Gordon, 15, and the Torbert brothers--Sekou, 17, Ade, 13, and Shakir, 8. All have worked on the same bill as Little Richard, A Taste of Broadway, Tribute to Gregory Hines and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. (Sekou Torbert also appears in Spike Lee's latest film, Bamboozled.) Mann also trains The Pee-Wee Hoofers (5-year-olds) and the pre-teen Little Rhythm Kings to take up where Chaney and Glover are leaving off. All the groups do freestyle improvisation and flash based on classical tap tradition. LaGuardia student Booker notes that his school offers tap, but not as a major. He's trying to change that.

Jane Goldberg is a tapper and frequent writer on dance.

9 Kaori Nakamura, PNB's Glowing Aurora


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Kaori Nakamura is the quintessential twenty-first-century ballerina, a can-do dancer whose versatile technique and acute musicality make her a knockout in a highly varied repertoire.

As an allegro dancer in Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, she is a miracle of musicality and rapid-fire technique; Mozart's music resides in her bones. As the deceived, melancholy woman of the "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" pas de deux in Kent Stowell's evening-length Silver Lining, she is at once sultry and lyrical. Nakamura is equally at home in adagio roles in the classical repertoire. In February, the PNB and former Royal Winnipeg ballerina, whose medal-winning classical technique was acquired in her native Japan and whose neoclassical skills were developed at the School of American Ballet, will take on a new challenge: Aurora in Ronald Hynd's staging of The Sleeping Beauty. While she's danced the role before with the Winnipeg, Hynd's staging after Petipa/Ashton, as he puts it, requires a highly centered performance style. No doubt about it: She's an Aurora to watch.

Martha Ullman West is a Dance Magazine correspondent.

10 Adam Hendrickson: On a Roll at NYCB


With his compact body and leonine looks, hair brushed back like a mane, Adam Hendrickson at 19 looks a little like the young Jean Babilee, and even dances with much of the intensity of the great French dancer. It is difficult to take your eyes off him when he is onstage. Hendrickson followed in the footsteps of his sister Jessy, both to the school and later into New York City Ballet, which he joined in the summer of 1998. However, note had been taken of Hendrickson even before he joined the company.

At the 1997 SAB Annual Workshop performance, Hendrickson had appeared in Balanchine's two-act Harlequinade, dancing Harlequin, the role made for the artistry and technical wizardry of Edward Villella.

Although still immature--even his legs looked a little spindly at that point--he was remarkable, and he solidified that reputation at the SAB performance the following year, immediately before being taken into the company, with a dazzling, buoyant account of himself in Donizetti Variations, dancing with what Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times called "awesome aplomb."

Once in the company he shone---outstanding in Peter Martins's Les Gentilhommes and as the Jester in his Swan Lake, and leaving an indelible impression with an almost non-dancing role in Eliot Feld's The Unanswered Question. And he also shows signs of being a fine, responsive partner. City Ballet has a batch of good young male dancers at present--but none, I think, better than the young Hendrickson.

Clive Barnes is Senior Consulting Editor to Dance Magazine.

11 Daniel Ulbricht, Big Fish in a Great School


Ballet has a budding superstar in Daniel Ulbricht, a 17-year-old student at the School of American Ballet. At five feet five and one-half inches--he scrupulously stresses the "one-half"--Ulbricht is a remarkably compact package of burgeoning pyrotechnics and innate musicality. In February 1999, while on tour with Les Jeunes Dancers, a troupe from his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, he dropped by SAB to take class as a visitor. He doesn't recall doing anything out of the ordinary, but New York City Ballet principal Peter Boal, who teaches at the school, says, "All our jaws dropped open when we saw how well prepared he was." (Ulbricht was a product of the Judith Lee Johnson Studio of Dance and a student of Javier DuBroq.) He first dazzled NYCB subscribers last winter with his springy splits in the jester pas de trois in Peter Martins's Sleeping Beauty. SAB's spring workshop found him dominating the fourth pas de trois of Balanchine's Danses Concertantes and in command of the men's regiment in Stars and Stripes. "Just to have fun onstage" is his goal. His already marked concern for formal discipline should guarantee joy for audiences as well.

Harris Green, a freelance writer, is the former features editor of Dance Magazine.

12 Marcelo Gomes, ABT's Man from Rio


At age 20, American Ballet Theatre soloist Marcelo Gomes has been dancing for thirteen years. Born in Brazil, he knew at age 7 he'd be a dancer. He began his studies in Rio de Janeiro with Helena Lobato, going on to train at the schools of the Paris Opera Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet and Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Matinee-idol handsome, Gomes is exuberant onstage, whether in the classics or ABT's growing modern repertoire. In person, he's a charmer--friendly, confident and generous with his colleagues.

In a coaching session for a difficult Balanchine variation, he displays virtually flawless technique. Then, under the guidance of veteran ABT principal Victor Barbee, he instantly assimilates suggested dynamic nuances and expressive finesse.

Promoted to soloist last August, Gomes drew critical praise for his Rothbart in Kevin McKenzie's new Swan Lake. He also dances Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew and leading roles in Tharp's Brahms/Haydn Variations, Graham's Diversion of Angels and Lar Lubovitch's 1999 Meadow, new for him this season.

Gus Solomons jr, a New York City critic for Dance Magazine, dances in his company, Paradigm, with Carmen de Lavallade and Dudley Williams.

13 Daniel Marshall, DCDC's Loose-Limbed Marvel

Daniel Marshall is having a terrific second season with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Deliciously loose-limbed, he lets a leg fly up, tipples his spine and then switches directions mischievously. A graduate of San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts and a former student at The Ailey School, Marshall has danced with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Jean-Isaacs of San Diego and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. He's also served as the artistic director of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble in San Diego, and recently won San Diego's Tommy Award. Anna Kisselgoff, in her New York Times review of DCDC's New York season, raved about him, saying his "high leg extensions and rubber-legged resilience only hint at his genius." Ultimately, what he expresses is the pure pleasure of dancing.

--Wendy Perron

14 Richard Move, Camping and Decamping

With his hilarious send-ups of Martha Graham, Richard Move has developed a cult following in lower Manhattan. Tall and statuesque, with jutting chin and flashing eyes, he would occasionally bump into a hanging lighting instrument at the tiny nightclub where his Martha @ Mother series became an underground hit. Gia Kourlas, writing in Time Out New York, deemed his diva act "too brilliant for words." Whether "Martha's" guest was Mikhail Baryshnikov, Yvonne Rainer, Isaac Mizrahi or Murray Louis, the audience was treated to a dance history lesson delivered with high camp. This winter Move moves into Town Hall, appearing for the first time in a regular theater. Will so much room cramp his style? Find out on January 20, when his guests include Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris and Sharon Kinney.

--Wendy Perron

15 Retail Dance Shops for New Audience


American culture is moving at a breakneck pace. Between email, cell phones and stop-and-go traffic, there's barely time to breathe, let alone attend a dance performance. Rather than wait for the public to come and see her, modern dance choreographer Kim Shipp of Santa Clara, California, has decided to go where the public is--shopping.

Shipp calls her solution Retail Dance, which she defines as an artistic collaboration between a merchant and an artist. Performances can take place in storefront windows, on escalators in the mall or inside shops amid the display cases. She has given two performances to date, one in the amphitheater of the children's section at a Borders bookstore in Los Angeles and another in Palo Alto. It's only the beginning. Shipp says: "This is like a fire that needs to be lit, and we've barely got the match going."

Fanning the flames, Shipp is negotiating future performances. By next year, she hopes, a Retail Dance Festival in downtown San Francisco will bring together many companies, with lots of shopping and dancing in store.

Heidi Landgraf is the Assistant to the Editor in Chief of Dance Magazine.

16 Ashley Bouder: An Apprentice's Sorcery


Ashley Bouder is all of 17, an apprentice at the New York City Ballet, winner of the School of American Ballet's prestigious Mae L. Wien Award--and fabulously talented. She grew up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, studied (like her mom) with Marcia Dale Weary, and by age 12 was dazzling Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet audiences in showstoppers like Balanchine's Stars and Stripes pas de deux, which she danced at last year's SAB workshop. She loves to jump and turn; she's even gotten to like adagio. And she makes allegro footwork look easy. She's a born performer, lighting up the stage from the moment she steps out. Yes, she does get nervous (though you'd never guess it), but dancing a role like Stars, which she knows inside out, is definitely fun. She's a fan of Miranda Weese, Maria Kowroski, Jenifer Ringer and Wendy Whelan, all NYCB principals, as well as American Ballet Theatre's Julie Kent, who's so "beautiful." During Winter Season she danced Nutcrackers galore--practically every performance--and celebrated Christmas in the Big Apple. Her dream: to become a New York City Ballet principal dancer.

Lynn Garafola is a senior editor of Dance Magazine.

17 Paule Turner: Duchess with a Difference


Look for sightings of Paule Turner, Duchess--this cross-dresser's self-conferred title--and his newly established ensemble, aptly named Court. As a transvestite performer, Turner's recent ancestral lineage includes Ethyl Eichelberger, RuPaul and Reginald Ellis Crump, who has worked with the Liz Lerman company and with Court.

Gender bending is just one device in Turner's repertoire of sensations. As an MFA candidate in Temple University's dance department, he was "always going for the outrageous," said one of his professors. Even when the concept was off, his sense of daring produced interesting experiments, with ironic violence as a frequent visitor. Turner and Court throw themselves into movement the way a fish takes to water. Duchess says he is interested in "movement that has a theater of its own, rather than referring us back to words."

His latest project: a two-year exploration titled Medea: Love Is the Devil, with Duchess playing the heroine, that begins this spring with in-progress showings in Philadelphia and New York. Turner's Vodun-inspired In the Mud played at last year's Philadelphia Fringe Festival and will travel to Scotland next August for the Edinburgh Fringe. His charismatic/enigmatic presence goes beyond conventional concepts of male/female, forcing gender into a gray area.

Brenda Dixon Gottschild, a Dance Magazine correspondent, is the author of Waltzing in the Dark.

18 Wayne McGregor, Virtual Virtuoso


The choreography of Wayne McGregor is reaching a gratifying maturity. Based in London, this prolific 30-year-old has been steadily working his way toward the top of Britain's contemporary dance scene. His major achievement thus far is a trio of digitally inspired dances starting with 1997's The Millennarium, passing through 1998's Sulphur 16 and concluding with Aeon in 2000. All three were repackaged into The Trilogy Installation. Aimed at live and virtual viewers, this scintillating opus had the honor of being featured last October in Dance Umbrella 2000's movement and technology week, alongside Merce Cunningham's Biped.

McGregor's trademark movement style is a particularly wriggling variation on neoclassicism a la William Forsythe. But McGregor is his own man, and one for whom dance is a razor-sharp tool of communication. Of his dances, the prolific, high-tech whiz kid says, "They're still live physical acts. For me the priority is still the body." Apart from creating for and with his own Random Dance Company, McGregor's recent activities include everything from community projects (a piece was devised last August with some two dozen London youths) to potent collaborations with dancers from The Royal Ballet, via the company's smaller-scale, experimental Artists' Development Initiative, overseen by dancer Deborah Bull. Duo:logue in three parts is the name of the next Random/Royal outing, April 18-21 in the Linbury Studio Theatre, Covent Garden.

McGregor, equally adept with toe shoes and bare feet, is offering nothing less than the next step in the evolution of new dance at one of the world's premier dance institutions.

Donald Hutera is a frequent contributor to Dance Magazine.

19 Caroline Rocher, Dance Theatre of Harlem's Rising Star

Sleek and sexy in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and soft and dreamy as the Dark Angel in Serenade, Caroline Rocher has made her mark at Dance Theatre of Harlem. At 23, she has just been promoted to principal dancer. Growing up in France, she attended the Conservatoire de Montpellier, then studied at Maurice Bejart's school, Rudra, in Lausanne, Switzerland. After a year at the Crazy Horse cabaret in Paris, she set out for a New York experience. She enrolled in The Ailey School, but, she says, "I was missing ballet too much." So in August of 1998, she auditioned for DTH. A mere two years later, Rocher is dancing lead roles in Giselle, Agon and Prodigal Son. She likes dancing with DTH because, she says, "The repertory is versatile so you never get bored, and I'm learning a lot from Arthur Mitchell."

--Wendy Perron

20 Li Chiao Ping: True Grit and Grace


Dancer, choreographer and artistic director Li Chiao-Ping's style of dance is a unique blend of acrobatics, modern dance and Chinese martial arts. Born Nancy Lee in San Francisco, California, she now teaches at the University of Wisconsin. Li is prolifically creative, choreographing over fifty pieces in her young career, many in collaboration with her partner, videographer/artist Doug Rosenberg.

Li says that, growing up, she was always trying to be a son, and fought stereotypes of what girls can't do. She has earned a reputation for a fierce presence on stage, brilliant technique and consummate execution of theme and movement. Critics have termed her strong, graceful and expressive in every bone of her body.

Li's oeuvre explores themes of culture and identity through abstract composite char acters that inhabit emotionally oddball worlds. In Chi, her signature piece, based on a concept of life force or inner energy, she jumps to land face down on the floor in a four-point landing--again and again. In her recent nationally acclaimed Men's Project, six male choreographers--Mark Dendy, David Dorfman, Joe Goode, Daniel Nagrin, Gus Solomons jr and Mel Wong--each created a solo for her.

This daring performer's bravest role may be her own recovery from a near-catastrophic automobile accident one year ago that resulted in nine surgeries and a near-amputation. With characteristic drive and energy, Li is dancing again with her company, most recently in a performance at Danspace Project/St. Mark's Church in New York.

Gigi Berardi, a Dance Magazine correspondent, is the author of Finding Balance: Fitness and Training for a Lifetime in Dance (Princeton Book Company, Publishers).

21 Bill `Crutchmaster' Shannon, Bionic Angel


Bill Shannon dances like a new bionic man made of metal and flesh with a hip-hop heart. This is a dancer on edge, tiding steel poles, who developed his art on the street. Also known as "Crutch" or "Crutchmaster," Bill Shannon challenges our ideas about what is awkward.

On crutches since he was 5 years old, Shannon has metabolized them into his dance as elegantly as the ballerina has transformed the toe shoe into an extension of her leg. Dancing on futuristic steel crutches with curved bases, Shannon is a beautiful alien creature gliding through space in loping strides. Steel is transformed into metallic wings, long legs, or oars that propel a skateboard. Through his dancing Shannon forces you to look at life afresh, to see movement with clear vision. He blasts sentimentality. He is a break-dancer who defies gravity, a dancer who rearranges all notions about being disabled. He can hover in midair like a bird of prey, gazing at the watchers with the cool eyes of a predator. He is fierce, without pity. So we have no pity for him. Then, with a slight shift of the head and attitude, he becomes an angel balanced on steel pins or an off-kilter Charlie Chaplin precariously waiting for the inevitable pratfall.

Sally Sommer is a freelance writer and a professor at Duke University.

22 Kyra Nichols: The Best Just Gets Better


Late work isn't necessarily great work, and in the case of great dancers, it can even leave much to be desired. But in some rare cases, there comes a sheen that seems to grow more lustrous. This appears to be the case with Kyra Nichols, who at this marker in the glorious career she began with New York City Ballet in 1974, continues to dance sublimely. Last season her performances with NYCB were among classical ballet's highest highlights. There would seem no reason to expect the new year to be any different for this ever-scrupulous, ever-pure ballerina. In the parts she still chooses to dance, transcendent roles in Balanchine ballets such as Mozartiana, Vienna Waltzes, Robert Schumann's "Davidsbiindlertiinze " and Liebeslieder Walzer, she can even surpass her formidable previous outings.

Exactness of execution is remarkable and rare, said Nichols's fabled mentor, George Balanchine. But, he noted, she has it. He went on to suggest that such a gift was essentially "God-given." Look for her performances in 2001 to be godsends, every one.

Robert Greskovic, the author of Ballet 101, reviews dance for The Wall Street Journal.

23 Dancewear's Junction: Fashion, Function


Dancers in the new millennium are finding that functional clothing can also be fashionable. Designer prints, vibrant colors, shimmery fabrics, bra tops, capri pants, even beaded camisoles and vinyl have found their way into the dancer's closet.

"Dancers want stylistic choices and multiple usage out of their clothes," says designer Marcea Lane. "With today's designs they can go to class, performance and out to a club, all with the same outfit." Two-piece sets, athletic wear with racer-stripe trim, boot leg cut pants that rest on hips instead of waists, halter and handkerchief tops and loose-fitting, hip-hop-influenced clothing are the current look.

Even ballet wear that is fairly prescribed is becoming strappier and more decorative. Judy Spodek, head designer for Capezio, says, "Today's dancer wants to be in style, but has to consider movement and performance, but likes some individuality." Because dancewear designers are deliberately blending comfort with popular fashion trends, dancers no longer have to sacrifice style for their art.

Rose Eichenbaum is a Los Angeles-based contributing photographer to Dance Magazine.

24 Paul S. Abrahamson, Courting the Moose


Contemporary ballet choreographer Paul S. Abrahamson, artistic director of Chicago's Moose Project, immediately established his reputation for professionalism and quality with Her Last Spring (1987), his initial offering to the Pittsburgh Dance Council's Choreographers' Continuum, which nurtured him for a decade.

Since then, the former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre member's textural ballets with emotional undercurrents--epitomized by Already It Is Dusk--have acquired maturity. His broader focus, shaped by musical eclecticism, has produced the music-driven Serenata Notturna, a technically complex abstraction demanding control and fineness, and the thematic Ritmos de Pies, which, fueled by Latin spirit, showcases technical virtuosity.

With an articulate classical vocabulary, conscientious work ethic and commitment to contemporary ballet, the native Chicagoan, whose choreography is internationally produced (including in Cuba), moves into the millennium poised to explore new artistic territory. His burgeoning 9-year-old Moose Project (a name inspired by his Joffrey Concert Group nickname), now boasts an administrative staff and a three-year plan to augment his repertory with works by other contemporary ballet choreographers.

The Project appears in late January at Chicago's Next Dance Festival and with the William Ferris Chorale on March 30 before launching a two-series subscription season (beginning April 6-8).

Karen Dacko is a contributing dance editor of Pittsburgh Magazine

25 Miami City Ballet: Villella Victorious


The ferocious, impassioned energy that charged Edward Villella's dancing with the New York City Ballet--think Prodigal Son, think Rubies--now fuels an entire company, the Miami City Ballet. With Villella at its helm, MCB, a mere 15 years old, proved to be a major-league contender at the Kennedy Center's Balanchine Celebration last fall, slip ping by the more established and more staid San Francisco Ballet, run by Villella's fellow NYCB alum Helgi Tomasson. An inspired Balanchine custodian, Villella supervises productions that throb with life. He secures the services of ideal stagers, such as Suzanne Farrell, and provides them with a group of dancers he has groomed to be lusty, musical and alert to the specific, potent atmosphere that permeates each ballet like a perfume.

Balanchine remains MCB's chief worldclass choreographer; the company even does his Nutcracker. But Villella, ever alert to rich possibilities, has also scheduled Frederick Ashton's Les Patineurs--a lovely example of the British master's work and a crowd-pleaser to boot. He also has his eye on the Jerome Robbins repertoire. The new year finds MCB visiting its multiple home sites in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. New York, which still fancies itself the dance capital of the world, gets a mere three one-night stands in April, and these are in outlying venues. What's wrong with this picture?

Tobi Tobias is New York Magazine's dance critic.
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Title Annotation:notable dancers, companies and choreographers
Publication:Dance Magazine
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Next Article:Gwen Verdon 1925-2000.

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